Mealani wrote to the Flight Crew to share her marvelous story way back in June! I apologize that I am just getting to it now.
Aloha to the Flight Crew! What a wonderful time we had in Italy. I wanted to share some of the highlights with you without merely repeating what others have already described so eloquently. The boys were everywhere. I bumped into them repeatedly. Yet I felt so oddly protective and didn’t want to invade their space. (I know, I can hear that collective sigh. Silly me) For the most part, I was content to bask in their aura and breathe the same air. . . although I was blessed to have a moment with Piero that will live with me forever. What a kind and gracious soul.
We’ve been home for over a week now and I’m still feeling the lingering jet lag. It’s a very long trip from Hawaii to Italy. There’s a 12 hour time difference. Day becomes night. And I’d do it again tomorrow if I could.
“For the last couple of years I’ve gained so much pleasure reading the articles and comments from the Crew, it feels rude to not share.”
My cousin, Melinda, planned this trip for months. It was my Christmas present. That sounds so casual, but it was a very big deal for both of us. While Melinda is fairly well traveled, I am not.
We both have obligations at home and . . . we’re not rich. But she explained to me that life is all about creating memories. It wasn’t easy, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Il Volo perform in their home country. Now, that’s a memory I have forever.
The flight from Honolulu to JFK is about 10 hours. We had a long layover and then another 9 hour flight to Rome where we spent the next 4 days. What an amazing city. Four days are not nearly enough but we had a concert to get to. From Rome it was a short flight to Catania and then another hours drive to Taormina. What a sweet little town. Kind of reminds me of home. There are some of the same plants, an active volcano, beautiful beaches, lots of tourists and locals that speak a language most Americans can’t understand.
We arrived a couple of days before the June 1st concert. Our B&B was a 5-minute walk from Bam Bar. From day one we had Il Volo sightings, mostly Piero. He was there every day. However, I felt oddly guilty of being yet another crazed fan with a camera, so we generally kept our distance. But on one occasion, I saw him walking up a flight of stairs with a couple of young ladies and I couldn’t resist. I called out to him and explained that I’d traveled a very long way to hear him sing. He was so kind and gracious, pausing to give me a hug and kiss and chat for a minute. Such a gentleman. Unfortunately, his female companions were less than thrilled. One of them was giving me the stare down of my life. It looked like she was planning to put my head on a stick and parade it around town. Sorry dear. Too bad, so sad.
On another evening, we were having dinner in a cafe across from Bam Bar and I heard Piero’s voice. Not his singing voice, which is easy to identify, but his speaking voice. He and his sister were there enjoying the early evening. In fact, the video of the Sicilian band was taken then. If I’d panned my camera just a few feet to the right you would have seen them. I know. Pretty foolish. But the mother hen in me wanted to protect their privacy.
The video of the boys singing with that same band was a scene I witnessed on two different evenings. There was always a small crowd but the guys looked so comfortable. Genuinely happy to be there. They would sing a couple of numbers, mingle with the fans, carry their children, pose for pictures. . . It was truly heartwarming.
Of course, the highlight of our adventure was the concert. Extraordinary music in a breathtaking venue. The boys sang with such passion and tenderness. It was phenomenal! My favorite moment was when Piero went to sit in the audience with his nonno while one of the other guys performed. They closed the show with Grande Amore.
I hope the video gives you a taste of the warmth and love we shared as an audience. Sadly, we did not attend the Meet and Greet. It was crazy expensive and our experience in San Diego the year before was a bit disappointing. So no, we didn’t do that.
It was an unbelievable adventure. While I hope to return someday to see more of Italy, my heart remains in Taormina.
Until then, ciao and aloha – Mealani, Hawaii USA